What if some of our biggest issues individually and collectively could be resolved by getting more rest? For me, the difference between 6 and 7 hours of sleep is a significant indicator of my daily energy level. Every part of my day, from home life to mealtime, my workout, and my livelihood, takes a dip. Just like nutrition and physical activity, sleep is imperative to your health.
This topic interests me, not sure if it’s about my overall wellness or maybe it has something to do with the age of my two girls because sleep is sometimes a luxury in my life these days. In this episode of my Health & Wealth podcast, we talked with health coach Blake Scheidt about the importance of the body getting the appropriate amount of rest. I’ve done a little additional digging to share some important details about why we need to be getting more rest.
We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, and not getting enough rest can significantly lessen our time to exhaustion by up to 30%, according to Dr. Matthew Walker, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. I spent some time listening to some of his talks and thought I’d share some of his fascinating comments and statistics.
Benefits of getting the right amount of sleep:
Our brain replays memory sequences we learn while awake, but about 20 times faster while we’re sleeping. “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice with a night of sleep makes perfect.” When you come back the next day after a good night’s rest, you are 20-30 times better at your skilled performance than the end of your practice session the day before.
“Sleep is the greatest legal performance-enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting.”
Sleep doesn’t improve the places where we’re already good in terms of motor skills. Sleep finds friction points or motor skill deficits and smooths them out/improves them.
During dream sleep, we take old information and combine it with new information we’ve learned and form new connections/associations, which means we sometimes might find new solutions to previously unsolvable problems after a good night’s rest.
Effects caused by lack of sleep:
The less rest you have (6 hours or less), the lower your peak muscular strength, lower your vertical jump height, and reduce your peak running speed. You also have a higher injury risk, according to Dr. Walker.
“We need 7-9 hours of sleep at night. Once you get below 7, there are measurable impairments in the brain.”
“Wakefulness, compared to sleep, is low-level brain damage. Sleep offers a repair mechanism for this.”
The Bottom Line:
Sleep is good and necessary for your wellbeing and frankly for all those around you as well. We all know how you get when you don’t get enough rest.
Dr. Matthew Walker is not affiliated with LPL or Allen & Co.